Sony fans had to be very patient ahead of the arrival of the a7S III, and they’ve had to do the same for the greatly anticipated a7 IV. Might we finally see an announcement in October?
Sony rumors are notoriously unreliable, and it’s worth noting that Japan’s most trusted sources for camera information have so far remained very quiet when it comes to claims regarding the a7 IV. With that in mind, Sony Alpha Rumors reported a few days ago that the camera is likely to be announced in October and that it will feature a brand new 33-megapixel sensor and offer 5.5 stops of in-body stabilization.
The mooted resolution of this camera seems to shift every couple of months. Back in July, it was thought that it would be the same resolution as its predecessor at 24 megapixels, albeit a completely redesigned, backside-illuminated sensor that would offer a much faster readout. This would reduce rolling shutter — potentially allowing it to match the performance of the a7S III — and perhaps offer a burst speed for what was suggested as 20 frames per second. With the Canon R3 now confirmed to be 24 megapixels, manufacturers seem happy to prioritize speed over resolution where required. In a video last month, Gerald Undone mentioned that 24 megapixels was sufficient for what he wanted in the a7 III’s successor, assuming it also offered 10-bit recording and 4K 60p without a crop.
Balancing the performance against the cost might be Sony’s trickiest decision. With recent advances from Canon, the manufacturer might feel under pressure to ensure that it crams the a7 IV with a number of headline features, but of course, this has to be offset against the price. With its appealing specifications, the a7 III almost felt like a loss-leader when it was announced in 2018, and there’s an expectation that Sony will want to repeat this feat with the latest iteration: better-than-average specs at a lower-than-you-might-expect price.
The ability to throw around video produced by a BSI sensor will depend on the processor. Any assumptions that the a7 IV will contain the Dual Bionz XR processors of the a1 and a7S III might need to be balanced by what this would do to the price. With the Canon EOS R6 currently retailing at a fairly reasonable $2,499, Sony may well be keen to undercut their biggest rival. There might be some corners cut elsewhere, such as the EVF, which, in keeping with the a7 III, will not be a particularly high resolution. The New Camera suggests 3.69 million dots that would keep it on par with the R6, at least.
Where old and new rumors seem to agree is that the a7 IV will feature 5.5 stops of in-body stabilization. IBIS is an area where Sony has struggled slightly to keep pace with the competition, and it will be interesting to see whether it’s been able to address this in the new camera.
Another point of agreement between the various rumor sites is that we should see an announcement in October, assuming that the global chip shortage, previously-freak-but-now-depressingly-normal weather events, or the ongoing global pandemic don’t decide to involve themselves in Sony’s production schedule. It's worth noting that the a7 III is currently discounted to $1,698; this isn't the first time that it's been sold at this price, but typically, such reductions coincide with seasonal sales and often have a limited timeframe. Has Sony cut the price ahead of an announcement?
Is it finally in sight? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.